Battle for the Belt: The New Power Tournament in Southern California

For many years the prestigious Five Counties tournament was the premier event that attracted most of the top-notch teams in California. However, in 2008, a new tournament emerged in Southern California – The “Battle for the Belt” hosted by Temecula Valley. The tournament, which was started by Coaches Arnold Alpert and Lyndon Campbell, found instant success in bringing the top squads from the Golden State to Temecula Valley.

In the second year of the tournament, perennial state power Clovis High made their presence known by advancing seven wrestlers to the finals and winding up as the team runner-up to Temecula Valley. That year, the Cougars were piloted by future Oregon State All-American, Scott Sakaguchi. From 2010-2013, Clovis won the team title and had 11 individual champions and placed 36 wrestlers in the tournament. The fans in attendance at the 2010 tournament saw phenom freshman Isaiah Martinez (Lemoore) win his first championship belt. In the finals, Martinez defeated Chris Mecate (Redlands East Valley), 3-2. Mecate went on to become a two-time All-American for Old Dominion University.The Mean Green Machine of Poway High decided to jump ship and joined the tournament for the first time in 2011; Henry Donahue (160) was their lone champion that year. That same year, eventual Division I National Champion Nahshon Garrett (Chico) and four-time undefeated Division II National Champion Joey Davis (Santa Fe) won individual titles in the tournament. As the tournament gathered more national attention from around the country, Pennsylvania power Bethlehem Catholic, attended the 2013 tournament with ambitions of spoiling the Cougars opportunity to become four-peat winners.The Golden Hawks were led by future Division I National Champion Darian Cruz (120) as well as All-American Zeke Moisey (126). Despite having more medalist than the Cougars, Bethlehem Catholic finished as the team runner-up. With three tech falls and two pins, Isaiah Martinez was voted the upper weights most outstanding wrestler as he won his fourth championship belt.This past season, Poway, won their fourth consecutive “Battle for the Belt” team championship. Under the guidance of Coach Wayne Branstetter, the Titans will be one of the favorites once again to win it in 2018.

Four-time champions

Isaiah Martinez (Lemoore, CS)

Three-time champions

Natrelle Demison (Bakersfield, CS)

Jonas Gaytan (Clovis, CS)

Two-time champions

Bryce Hammond (Bakersfield, CS)

Quentin Hovis (Poway/Seton Catholic Prep (AZ))

Patrick Martinez (Temecula Valley, SS)

Morgan McIntosh (Calvary Chapel, SS)

Nick Nevills (Clovis, CS)

Isaiah Perez (Dinuba, CS)

Jeramy Sweany (Vacaville, SJ)

Evan Wick (San Marino, SS)

Zander Wick (San Marino, SS)

2017 Battle for the Belt: Results

2016 Battle for the Belt: Results

2015 Battle for the Belt: Results

2014 Battle for the Belt: Results

2013 Battle for the Belt: Results

2012 Battle for the Belt: Results

2011 Battle for the Belt: Results

2010 Battle for the Belt: Results

2009 Battle for the Belt: Results

2008 Battle for the Belt: Results